On May 4th, 2011 I will be heading off on an exciting 1-year trek across Central & South America. I will be carrying two fishing rods in my backpack - one spin casting & one fly rod. Join my adventure as I search for each country's best fishing spots, learn local techniques, and show you how to get in on the action. Rainbow Bass fishing in Nicaragua, Machaca in Costa Rica, and Peacock Bass in Guyana are only a few of the adventures on the itinerary.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fishtalker’s Interview with the legendary Bob Izumi

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to catch up with Hookin' Up star Mariko Izumi to do a quick interview. This week I had the opportunity to ask her uncle Bob Izumi 13 questions that I thought would interest any amateur or pro angler. From his answers you can sense that Bob is genuinely a great "stand-up" guy. Although he was already a personal inspiration and role model, now I have even more respect and admiration for this Canadian fishing icon. Enjoy the interview and leave your comments.

Q1: What would be your advice to anyone who wants to turn their passion for fishing into a career?

Don't quit your day job! In my case I starved for the first decade of fishing for a living even though I was one of few people in Canada doing it 30 years ago. Now it is very competitive out there for sponsorship/advertising with as many guys getting into the business. I would definitely take marketing/business/pr in school to help dealing with the corporate folks as well as the public. Another route would be to either guide or fish tournaments but once again it would be nice to have another job as a back-up. Some friends of mine have got into sales/marketing with the fishing companies and distributors. This could be a more secure venue if you have a family to support.

Q2: What is a typical pre-tournament training session like? I recently read that you start at about 7am and go until sundown. What do you do in a typical training session?

Successful tournament fishing is just plain hard work. A perfect scenario for me is to practice from morning to dusk for 3 straight days prior to an event. Having said that my busy schedule rarely allows me to get the quality practice in before an event starts. It's a bit of catch 22 for me fishing tournaments and being involved in the media as well. If I do well people expect it and if I bomb people say "What happened?" If you watch many of the Canadian fishing shows I am one of the few guys still fishing a lot of tournaments. It is very hard to split up your time and be successful.

Q3: Within a 2-hour drive from Toronto, where would you say is the best place to fish for trophy pike and bass?

You can really pick any direction for bass....Quinte, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, Simcoe all have great bass fishing. Trophy pike on the other hand can be found in a few areas of Lake Ontario, Simcoe and Georgian Bay.

Q4: You have probably had more memorable fishing moments that 99% of anglers but what is your all-time favourite fishing experience?

In 1995 I won the Canadian Fishing Tour Classic, Canadian Open and angler of the year....very sweet! More recently winning a couple of tournaments with my son, Darren. Last year a Bassmania  in Trenton and this summer a Renegade in Cornwall.

Q5: If you had the opportunity to take 2 people fishing (dead or alive) who would you take and why?

I have been very fortunate to fish with a lot of people over the years.....celebrities, guides and people who just love the sport as much as I do. The first person would be my late father Joe Izumi. He died the first year I got into the business 31 years ago. We had some crazy yet fun outings on the water in the early years. Over the years I have realized what an incredible person he was. He unselfishly raised four of us in rural Ontario as a single parent working a ton of jobs to make ends meet just to give us the quality of life growing up. He spent all the money he made on us and the neighbourhood kids doing fun stuff including fishing. If I had to pick another person maybe Einstein as he is smarter than me(which isn't very hard!) I always like to learn from people.

Q6:  Heaven forbid but assuming that you were banished for life to fish on one lake/river/body of water in Canada and one outside of Canada where would it be and why?

The Thousand Islands/Lake Ontario here in Canada and probably the Amazon in Brazil for peacock bass. Or maybe Costa Rica....how many can I pick again?!?!

Q7: How did you start out your professional fishing career? Take us back to what inspired you and what made you decide that you wanted to make fishing your profession.

In 1979 I had been fishing quite a few bass tournaments in Ontario and the northern US. I heard through the grapevine that Mercury Marine were trying to get Al Lindner to come to the boatshow in Toronto to do fishing seminars but he was already booked elsewhere. My Dad and I went to Mississauga to speak with Bob Paterson(at the time was the marketing manager) at Mercury about me  doing the seminars at the ten day show. He said let's give it a try and paid me $25.00 per day to do them. At the time I didn't realize hotels, food, etc. would be so much and since I didn't get expenses I came out with not a lot of money. But it was definitely a turning point in my life as I had just been laid off working in a factory in Chatham making trucks. For the next three years I fished tournaments and did promotional work for a number of companies making just enough to put a bit of food in my mouth. In 1983 I started to talk to a relative of my sister's husband at a family picnic who happened to own his own one-man advertising agency. His name is Bob Mcguigan. He didn't fish at the time but liked my idea of doing a fishing show so we hired a cameraman and went out to shoot a pilot show. Things didn't go quite as planned but we did get a few bass on camera. The next attempt we got a big muskie on video and we edited our first show. We did the dog and pony show around the province to twelve tv stations and picked up thirteen as one program director happened to be visiting another one as we met and he took our show as well. We went from producing 13 shows for Ontario stations the first year to twenty six shows across the country the next. The short answer to the question is that I have always fished!

Q8: Some say that fishing is a slowly dying Canadian heritage sport and others say that it is only now getting more popular. What is your take and how can we each do our part to ensure it’s here to stay?

We all have to work together and introduce new people to this great sport. Kids and adults alike need to experience the fresh air and adrenaline rush associated with fishing! Take as many people out as you can!

Q9: Complete the statement: When I am on the water and nothing seems to be working, I ….

....change it up! I get bored fast so I am constantly changing techniques, spots and lures....keep it fun!

Q10: Who in your opinion is the best male and best female angler in the sport today? Why?

There are too many great anglers out there. I have certainly fished against many of them both in Canada and the US in tournaments. It could also be a guide I have done a show with. Don't really have an answer for that one.

Q11: Is it difficult balancing your family life and work life given that you are always on the road filming or in a tournament?
There is no balance. I am always going wide open! I rotate to suitcases that are always full. My wife and mother to our two children is incredible. She has always supported me fishing tournaments or whatever else I am doing around the world. She looks after so many things for me that I could write a book on them. Although we made a deal that I can travel as much as I want for fun or work if I cook when I'm home. Not a bad deal since I currently travel about 260 days and have been on the road as many as 320 in a single year. I like to eat and cook so it's a win-win situation! It drives everyone crazy at home when we will be eating a meal and I'll be asking them what they want for the next one!

Q12: What are your top 3 essential bass lures?

Berkley Gulp 3" Fry, Sabertail tube and a Gulp Sinking Minnow

Q13:  What’s your favourite part of your job?

Fishing new spots and locations around the world and fishing as many tournaments as I can!

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